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Topline

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine has no plans to cede territory to Russia in an interview that aired Sunday morning on CNN, but he still expressed the need for negotiations between the two countries despite offering limited optimism about talks.

Key Facts

In an interview taped Friday for CNN’s State of the Union, Zelensky said, “We cannot give up our territory,” suggesting he isn’t willing to give up land to Russia in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

Despite accusing Russian forces of committing genocide against Ukrainians, Zelensky said it is a “great tragedy” that many Ukrainians don’t want to conduct talks with Russia, and he still hopes to “find at least some dialogue with Russia, if they’re capable and if we’re still ready.”

Still, Zelensky said Ukraine can fight Russia for “10 years to take what’s ours,” emphasizing Ukraine is unwilling to make any major concessions to its invader, though Zelensky said in an interview with The Atlantic published Friday he doesn’t want “to fight for our independence for another 10 years.”

Tangent

Zelensky said “I think he will” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he thinks President Joe Biden will visit Ukraine. Biden said he was personally ready to go to Ukraine on Thursday, though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ruled out the possibility of Biden going to Ukraine a day later. Biden confirmed Friday the White House is discussing sending a senior official to Ukraine, following earlier reports by Politico and the New York Times about the discussions.

What To Watch For

How Russia responds Sunday to Ukrainian forces refusing to meet Russia’s ultimatum for surrender in the besieged southeastern port city of Mariupol, in the Donbas region. The Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday that Ukrainian troops had cleared out of all of Mariupol’s urban areas, but Ukraine said Sunday its defense of the city continues. Russia’s latest demands for Ukraine to surrender Mariupol come amid a broader Russian military offensive expected in the Donbas region.

Further Reading

Exclusive: Zelensky says Ukraine won’t give up territory in the east to end war with Russia (CNN)

Ukrainian Troops Continue To Fight In Mariupol Despite Russian Ultimatum Demanding Their Surrender (Forbes)

Source: Forbes

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